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the ahead of the nra fires back at critics, explaining why he wants to address gun violence in school with more guns. retailers prepare for the last holiday hurrah as time tux away for shopping procras procrastinato procrastinators. plus, a u.s. senator arrested on dui charges. the world's most expensive dinner. and "the hobbit" holds on. "early today" starts right now. this is "early today" for monday, december 24, 2012. >> and a very good morning to you on this christmas eve, i'm veronica de la cruz. days after the national rifle association's first public comments since the newtown
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massacre, critics are taking aim at the controversial plan to put armed guards in schools. the head of the powerful group is sticking to its guns on the explosive issue. one congress won't be able to do anything about until sometime next month. brian mooar has details. >> reporter: in his first interview after the connecticut shooting tragedy, nra chief wayne lapierre was defiant. >> look, a gun is a tool. the problem is the criminal. >> reporter: the powerful gun lobby and its allies insist gun laws aren't the answer. they want more guns in the hands of good guys. >> if it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy. >> people resisted having weapons on airplanes. but i oversaw the federal air marshals, and it's a deterrent. >> reporter: legislation will have to waited for the new congress to get settled in, but the debate is already underway. >> trying to prevent school
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shootings? schools without talking about guns is like stopping lung cancer without addressing cigarettes. >> this problem runs deep and wide. >> reporter: outside of atlanta, gun owners are voting with their wallets, buying up weapons while they still can. >> i don't think it's ever a wrong time to protect yourself and -- and exercise your second amendment rights. >> reporter: but some 30 miles away from the connecticut shooting scene, gun owners were surrendering their arms for cash. it's one of a number of gun buyback programs around the country. this event netted 64 firearms. organizers say that's not a disappointment, it's a start. brian mooar, nbc news, washington. the pentagon says the commanding officer of s.e.a.l. team 4 has died in afghanistan. 42-year-old navy commander joe w. price died saturday of what u.s. military officials are calling a noncombat-related
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injury. they tell nbc news has death is being investigated as a possible suicide. s.e.a.l. team 4 was part of a mission to train local afghan police to fight the taliban. in a possible insider attack, a nato spokesman says an american adviser was shot and killed this morning by an afghan policewoman at kabul headquarters. at least 53 international troops have been killed by afghan soldiers or police this year. back here at home, it is crunch time for holiday shoppers. many retailers have extended hours and stepped up promotions to entice those who have waited until the very last minute to finish their christmas list. nbc has more on this. >> reporter: as santa finishes his list and checks it twice before his big trip, most americans are headed out, too, to finish shopping for everyone on their list. >> for my grandmom, something for my mom. >> mom, dad, brother, sister. >> sneakers for my nephew.
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that's it. i'm done. >> reporter: but according to a survey last week, there are millions of shoppers who are not quite done. 132 million to be exact. 26 million hadn't even started. >> i know who i need to buy for but not what i'm buying yet. >> reporter: to help in the holiday rush, many stores like target, toys 'r' us, and macy's stayed open around the clock this weekend and plan to through christmas eve. >> a lot of people have really challenging work schedules. the traditional work schedule is really no more. people like the convenience. >> reporter: although a recent poll showed that 17% were planning to spend less this year, retail analysts say sales this holiday season are on track to top $586 billion. >> if we recall, black friday did about $11.2 billion in sales. but they had very strong results compared to last year. retailers are hoping that the consumers will come back and deliver those same strong results. >> reporter: so with only one day left to get it all wrapped
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up, shoppers are expecting a hectic -- >> you know, try to get the good stuff. >> i think it's more fun at the end. >> reporter: but happy holiday eve. nbc news. and now for a look at your holiday travel forecast, here's nbc's dylan dreyer. it makes me -- i'm watching that and thinking it's all men saying, yeah, whatever, did it the last minute. that's every year. it's nothing new. >> true, but all men and me. i have a whole bunch of my family -- >> really? >> that i won't see on christmas. so i've been pushing it off because we were moving at the same time. >> i'm surprised. >> i know. normally i'm on top of things ahead of time. but i still have more christmas shopping to do. if you're out and about shopping or traveling today, we aren't seeing too many problems in the northeast and south. but the southeast, that's where we have heavier rain moving into tennessee, the western carolinas and georgia. eventually we're going to see
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some heavier rain, as well. you see the activity across the west coast, this is a storm that's going to move into the oklahoma area as we go into christmas day. it is still far away. but the area of low pressure is going to track eastward. and eventually we are going to see that snow take hold in oklahoma, in arkansas, in little rock, arkansas, there hasn't been snow on christmas day since 1926. here you see all the winter storm watches and advisories even across the panhandle of texas where that area could end up seeing in spots perhaps more than six inches of snowfall, certainly an area you don't expect to see the snow. the northeast could see a dusting as we go into tonight and tomorrow morning. then it should fade away as we go into christmas afternoon. that's a look at the weather across the country. now here's a peek at the weather out your window. in new york city today, 39, partly cloudy. other areas across the east coast do look mostly quiet unless you're heading down into
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the carolinas. charlotte, north carolina, today about 51 degrees. orlando, florida, about 73. and that is your latest forecast. veronica? >> just a dusting, not a white christmas, just a dusting? >> enough so santa's sleigh has something to go through, but we're only looking at really a dusting tonight and into tomorrow morning. >> 39 degrees? my goodness. >> it's winter. >> thanks. coming up next, a syrian air strike kills dozens. and more on the late senator inouye. and what's on the menu? america's most expensive christmas dinner. you're watching "early today."
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. hi, i'm stationed at airsam air base. i wanted wish a merry christmas to my son and boys. merry christmas. >> i'm in southwest asia. i wanted to wish a very merry christmas to my wife, kara, and beautiful daughters. i'll be home soon, and i hope you have a great christmas and happy new year. >> and happy holidays to you, as well. here are some stories making news this morning. activists in syria see
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government warplanes attacked a bakery in a rebel-held town killing people including children. it appears to be one of the deadliest aerial attacks in the nearly two-year-long civil war. michael crapo is sorry after been arrested and driving under the influence near washington, d.c., early sunday. and in honolulu, president obama and the first lady attended a memorial service for senator daniel inouye, the world war ii veteran who died last week at age 88 after serving nearly 50 years in congress. the markets will be open for a half day today and closed tomorrow for christmas. a traditionally quiet week could become hellish for traders. as fiscal cliff talks drag into the 11th hour with $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts due to kick in early next year, lawmakers will get back to the table later this week after house speaker john boehner's plan b failed to get enough republican support for a vote last week. still, the market has been resilient. despite friday's decline, the
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s&p 500 posted its best week in four. and with just five trading sessions left in 2012, the dow has advanced 8% while the s&p 500 climbed 13. the nasdaq has jumped 16%. reports are due this week on pending home sales. sales of new homes and a look at home prices in the nation's 20 largest cities. are you still not sure what to get for the person who has everything? new retail numbers show footwear was the fifth most popular gift on shoppers' lists on black friday. a year ago, shoes didn't even make it into the top ten gifts for the season. good news for hollywood. attendance by moviegoers is up more than 5.5% so far this year. ticket revenue is projected to jump by 6% by the end of 2012 which would be the industry's biggest yearly increase in a decade. after surprisingly strong sales on thanksgiving, look for some mcdonald's restaurants to be open on christmas for the first time ever to boost december sales. and a well-known london chef
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has been offering what is being billed as the world's most expensive christmas dinner for just over -- get this -- $200,000. yes, most of the proceeds go to charity, but still no takers for this fancy feast which includes $60,000 bubbly, $4,000 melon, $10,000 worth of edible gold leaf, and -- okay, the piece de resistance, coffee beans excr e excreted by a wildcat. huh? all right. here's what's coming up ahead -- a holiday tragedy in ohio. and a heartfelt commute in north carolina. a look at how the nfl playoffs are shaping up. that and more next on "early today."
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hi, i'm lieutenant jennifer shipping from kandahar, afghanistan. and i just wants to say happy holidays to my family in florida and virginia and california. i love you and miss you, guys. >> good morning, i'm lieutenant frank vermel in camp leatherneck, afghanistan. want to say merry christmas and happy new year to my family and friends in south jersey and across the tri-state area. can't wait to see you in the new year. a very good morning to you. welcome back. here's a look at some other stories making news early today in america -- a holiday travel tragedy in ohio. three adults and a child were killed early sunday when a minivan carrying a family
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leaving a christmas party went the wrong way on a highway and crashed head on into another minivan. two other children are in critical condition. authorities believe alcohol was involved. residents of one community in north carolina have started a new holiday tradition -- placing 26 candle-lit bags along their street to honor the 26 victims killed in the newtown, connecticut, school shootings. the organizer says she plans to make it an annual event. and it was a happy reunion between a phoenix woman and her best friend. cane, a siberian husky, went missing from his back yard about nine months ago, possibly after being stolen. he somehow ended up in oregon. thanks to a microchip, cane's owner was located, and he was flown home just in time for christmas. happy dog. in sports now, the nfl's week 16 is complete, and who is hotter than the seattle seahawks? just ask the san francisco
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49ers. blocking the second quarter field goal attempt. seattle's richard sherman returned the loose ball 90 yards. the seahawks led the way to the 40-13 win. along with the victory, the seahawks also locked up a playoff berth. earlier sunday, dallas forced overtime after trailing new orleans by 14. drew brees found holeston in overtime. the fumble recovered by teammate jimmy graham on the 2 yard line. garrett hartley's 20-yard field goal gave new orleans the 34-31 victory. in philadelphia, robert griffin iii was back after sitting out a week with a sprained right knee. he found santana moss for a touchdown as washington won its sixth in a row. 27-10. with one week to play, the nfc playoff picture has atlanta, san francisco, green bay all in. the redskins host dallas next week to decide the nfc east. at the moment, seattle and minnesota hold the wild card. home field are still up for
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grabs. chicago, dallas, and the new york giants still holding on to some hope. in the efc, ben roethlisberger was intercepted by snaetd's reggie nelson who -- update's reggie nelson who returned the ball to the 45 yard line with only 14 seconds to play. on the next play, andy dalton found a.j. greene for another 21 yards. the bengals ended pittsburgh's playoff hopes when josh brown's 43-yard field goal locked it up for cincinnati with the 13-10 victory. finally, the only thing left to decide in the afc is who will get a first round bye in the playoffs. if houston or denver lose, new england can move up with a win. baltimore is the fourth seed at the moment. indianapolis and cincinnati will be the wild card teams. just ahead, rihanna's massive donation. and which "real housewives" star and her husband are calling it quits. plus, tom cruise gets an unexpected trashing from bilbo and friends next.
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i'm master sergeant wales in southwest asia. i'd like to say hello to my daughters in crestview, florida. i love you and miss you and will see you soon. >> i'm lieutenant colonel john walsh in kabul, afghanistan. i'd like to wish happy holidays to my family back in tampa, florida. my wife susan and the best son in the world, jack. happy holidays, everybody. love you. and good morning.
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we are talking about some really cold temperatures all through the dakotas. in fact, tonight into tomorrow morning, we have windchill advisories in effect in that area where it could be about 25 to 35 degrees below zero for your windchill. across the east coast, for your christmas eve forecast, looking for temperatures in the 30s and lower 40s. heavier rain will start to move into the southeast. then on christmas day, heavy snow moves into the oklahoma area, also into arkansas. some areas could pick up six inches of snow. so certainly an unusual place to get snow on christmas day. >> absolutely. all right. thanks, dylan. time to look at entertainment news now. notch another big win for the little guys. bilbo and pals dwarfed the competition at the box office for a second straight week. "the hobbit: an unexpected journey," raked in nearly $37 million. less than half of last week's haul, but still more than double tom cruise's "jack reacher," which came in second. rihanna has gotten into the
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holiday spirit donating nearly $2 million to a hospital in her native barbados in memory of her late grandmother. she says the gift was her way of giving back to barbados. one year after separating, ashton kutcher filed for divorce from demi moore last week. the official may/december split could cost the "2 and a half men" star a pretty penny. moore wants as much money from kutcher as she got from ex bruce willis. that amount has never been disclosed, but it is thought to be considerable. and another hollywood ending. new york housewife-turned-entrepreneur bethenny frankel has separated from her husband of two years, jason hoppy. the 42-year-old tweeted, "i am heartbroken, i am sad. we will work through this as a family." >> sad. i mean, all the divorce talk around the holidays. >> here's good news -- i think that justin bieber is getting back to selena. >> this is good. >> and a friend of mine said that maybe tom cruise and katie holmes are getting back
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together. i don't see -- >> interesting. >> we'll see how that plays out. i don't know. apparently it was in a tabloid. there you go. >> it's always true, right? this comes from kusa in denver where a family's tradition is seeing a final year. an opulent light display was built for 50 years. what started as one strand of lights has grown to a 70-foot-high, 150,000-light setup. for the past 15 years, he's also collected donations for a local children's hospital. however, herman says that he is getting old, it is time to hang up those lights. that is quite a spectacle. i'm veronica de la cruz. this is "early today," your first stop of the day on your nbc station.
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>> you're watching wbal-tv 11. live, local, late-breaking. this is 11 news today at 5:00 a.m. >> it is a quiet start to the day. things get more interesting as to move to the afternoon. rain is approaching from the south. it will start to interact with cold air and it could start to change into an icy mix. maybe some sleet. >> 4:56.
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28 degrees at the airport. the ravens beat take the division title with a statement win against the new york giants. >> the morning commute looking clear at york road
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[captioning made possible by constellation energy group] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> you're watching wbal-tv 11. live, local, late-breaking. this is 11 news today at 5:00 a.m. >> good morning. i am sarah caldwell. >> i'm jennifer franciotti. merry christmas. >> things get ill interesting throughout the day. people are finishing up their holiday preparations --

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Early Today
NBC December 24, 2012 4:30am-5:00am EST

News/Business. The latest world and national news, and reports on the day's upcoming events. New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Afghanistan 4, Florida 4, Washington 3, Arkansas 3, Oklahoma 3, North Carolina 3, Atlanta 2, America 2, Kabul 2, Nbc 2, Ohio 2, S&p 2, Bilbo 2, New York 2, Barbados 2, Southwest Asia 2, Seattle 2, Hollywood 2, San Francisco 2, Reggie Nelson 2
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